If you watch enough zoning hearings, the testimony begins to sound pretty repetitive. That novel argument you’re making? The Council members have heard it a million times before. Here are nine of the things we hear most often at zoning hearings, illustrated by cats.
1. “I’m not opposed to all development. Just this development.”
Those 1,000 times you sat on your couch to support developments far away from you surely counterbalance that one time you came out to oppose your neighbor’s development.
If you’re opposed, just tell us why; don’t go on about how you’re not a person that opposes things.
2. “Nobody talked to me!”
The city notifies neighbors and registered civic organizations about upcoming permits. Developers seek out people they think might be affected. But it’s hard to know who is going to care and notifications are often thrown out. Don’t feel left out! If you’re at the hearing, you’re being heard. Just say what’s on your mind.
3. “Reality is, everybody drives a car.”
Usually said while proposing somebody build more parking. If you want that reality to ever change, you have to accept building less car infrastructure.
4. “These greedy developers only think about profits.”
Land development is a business. Like all businesses, sometimes you make money and sometimes you lose money. You just try to make sure that you make enough money on the winners to cancel out the losers. Focusing in on the fact that the developer is hoping to make money makes your testimony sound more like you oppose out of spite than a particular reason.
5. “Let me tell you my theory of economics.”
If council members haven’t learned economics by now, they’re not going to learn it from your three minute testimony.
6. “What this neighborhood really needs is a coffee shop, not more apartments.”
For all the mean things people sometimes say about developers, a lot of folks seem to fashion themselves amateur land developers, with a keen eye on exactly what types of businesses will succeed or fail. As it turns out, those things coincide perfectly with the things they personally enjoy.
7. “I’m 5th generation! My great great grandfather moved here before this was even on the map!”
That entitles you to one vote, just like everybody else. Now tell us what you came up here to say.
8. “We need to respect the hundreds of hours spent crafting this neighborhood plan.”
Respecting people for volunteering time making plans doesn’t mean those plans should never change. Now tell us your reasons for or against this particular change.
9. “This housing is too small for me!”
Different people have different needs and desires! Just because you don’t like a particular thing doesn’t mean nobody would like it.